wooden cross on wood background

“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” – Genesis 49:10

Obedience – what is that? To be quite honest, as the mother of four young, rabble- rousing rioters, it often feels like more of a mirage – a perpetually pursued yet nearly never attained state of the union (or home). When it comes to teaching obedience, sadly I suspect even my best intentions as a young mother, are often selfishly-motivated and sinfully slanted. Specifically, in desiring my children’s obedience not purely because God has listed that in my job description as a parent or because it reflects the will of God, but sometimes more so because of the reflection I’m sure it will have on me and my parenting (or lack thereof)

Now, “obedience of the nations” –that is another level! It reminds me of what Paul talks about when he references Isaiah in Philippians 2:9-11 – “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” That is a sight I long to behold, and a chorus I long to join in! As followers of Jesus, who are forgiven, saved and on our journey of sanctification, this should be our hope and anticipation. Jesus IS coming again and “the nations” WILL demonstrate obedience (complete and without backtalk) and they will recognize Jesus, the Son of God, the King eternal, the Sovereign one, the rightful ruler of ALL.

As Jesus followers, the Advent and Christmas season has all the potential to refocus and revive our doubting, distracted and frenzied hearts but how often instead do I fall prey to the hustle and bustle of misplaced priorities. As we draw near to this time of celebrating our Savior’s birth, I pray we may pause to reflect on some simple truths from this Messianic passage.

Who holds the scepter and ruler’s staff in my life? Am I guilty of attempting to steal God’s rightful authority and rule by seeking to control my life and those around me? Who is king and ruler of my day to day? Is it the one true King, Jesus – to whom belongs the obedience of the nations? Lastly, what would it look like for me to live each day in the confidence and focused expectation that someday, perhaps even sooner than we expect, the obedience of the nations SHALL BE HIS?

May we live with greater focus on our ultimate and glorious destination (bowing before the Lord with all creation praising Him for all He is) in order to live out each day with humility of character and passionate purpose.

Father God, thank you for your word, for the promises in scripture and the hope of our eternity with you. I pray you will draw our hearts and minds away from empty pursuits and vain pleasures and into your rich and soul-satisfying presence. And once there may we live and share the simple joy of a life walking with you in trust and obedience. Amen.

~ Heidi Burtt